What is a Hashtag?
If you search “What is a Hashtag?” on Google this is what you get
a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites such as Twitter to identify messages on a specific topic.
“spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them”
In simple terms this is what a Hashtag is but where people get confused is that you can use Hashtags in different ways.
Using the # (hash) sign to tag a word started out on Twitter in 2007 and was actually suggested by a Twitter user Chris Messina as a way to group tweets, it took a while to take off but now hashtags are all over Twitter and other Social Media Sites too.
Hashtags are basically a word or words that have the # sign at the start, they are often used for networking hours and chats so that people involved in the conversations can see what other people also taking part in the hour are tweeting about. Here in Lincolnshire 2 popular hashtags are #LincsHour on a Monday evening between 8-9pm and #LincsConnect which can be used anytime. Notice there is no space between the words, this is significant as if you use a space the only word that is tagged is the first word, so both hashtags would be #Lincs Hour rather than #LincsHour and #Lincs Connect rather than #LincsConnect. If you put a hashtag into the search box on Twitter then a selection of Tweets with that hashtag in will be shown to you.
How to use Hashtags?
As mentioned Hashtags are used for grouping tweets on networking hours, they are also used by TV programmes to encourage viewers to tweet while watching such as #SCD for Strictly Come Dancing or #TheVoice or whatever TV programmes you are interested in.
Hashtags can be used for events such as conferences, where a hashtag will be used to promote the event before it takes place and then also during the event by speakers, exhibitors and attendees.
Current affairs also have hashtags associated with them as this is something that people are interested in following and tweeting about.
You can create your own Hashtag just make sure it isn’t being used by anyone else, however if you are just starting out using Hashtags it makes more sense to use existing popular tags in your business or location.
Don’t over use Hashtags in a tweet, 2 hashtags per tweet is enough.
If you would like to read more about How to use Hashtags check out Mashable’s post
Popular Hashtags you might see
#FF or #FollowFriday I think this was the first hashtag I came across, the idea is you give a shoutout to people you think are worth following.
#LincsConnect This is for Lincolnshire people, businesses and charities and the idea is that people using it retweet other people’s tweets to help promote each other.
#SBS stands for Small Business Sunday and is a competition run by Theo Paphitis between 5pm-7.30pm on a Sunday, where businesses can tweet @TheoPaphitis using #SBS and describe their business, in the hope of being pick as one of the lucky 6 who get retweeted that week by Theo. However searching for this hashtag will also give results for SBSnews.
What Hashtags do you use regularly and would recommend to other people?
Want to learn more about how to use Twitter to promote your business, then take a look at my 30 days to Twitter Success course